NHS Wales

NHS Wales
The logo of NHS Wales

NHS Wales (Welsh: Gwasanaeth Iechyd Gwladol Cymru (GIG Cymru)) is the publicly funded healthcare system of Wales and is the responsibility of the devolved Welsh Government.

NHS Wales was originally formed as part of the public health system for England and Wales created by the National Health Service Act 1946 with powers over the NHS in Wales coming under the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969. Responsibility for NHS Wales was passed to the Welsh Government under devolution in 1999 and has since then been the responsibility of the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services.[1]

NHS Wales provides emergency services and a range of primary care, secondary care and specialist tertiary care services. District General Hospitals provide outpatient, inpatient and accident and emergency services and a network of community hospitals are run by GPs. Specialist hospitals provide services such as burns units, plastics and cardiac surgery. NHS Wales also funds GP services, dental services, pharmacies and sexual health services. Community services are also provided which includes district nurses, health visitors, midwives and community based speech therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.[2]



There are seven regional Health Boards in Wales and three national NHS Trusts.[3] Each Health Board is responsible for delivering all NHS healthcare services within a geographical area. The three NHS Trusts, called 'All Wales Trusts' operate nationwide agencies and services; they areservices,< Welsh Ambulance Service,[4] Velindre NHS Trust[5] providing specialist cancer services and Public Health Wales.[6]

The current Health Boards were created on 1st October 2009 following a reorganisation of NHS Wales that saw the abolition of 22 Local Health Boards (LHBs) and seven NHS Trusts that had existed since 2003.[7] Since the reorganisation Health Boards are responsible for delivering all NHS services, rather than the two-tiered Trust and LHB system that existed previously.

Wales' largest teaching hospital, the University Hospital of Wales based in Cardiff is the largest hospital outside London and third largest in the United Kingdom.

Other NHS Wales bodies

Another important organisation in the structure is Health Commission Wales. This is an executive agency of the Welsh Government whose primary role is to centrally organise and fund all tertiary care and other highly specialist services. It also provides advise and guidance about specialist services to other parts of NHS Wales.

NHS Wales Informatics Service, established in April 2010 is also an agency of the Welsh Government. It is responsible for the strategic development of Information Communications Technology (ICT), the delivery of operational ICT services and information management.

NHS Direct Wales/Galw Iechyd Cymru provides a non-emergency telephone health advice and information service. It operates 24 hours a day every day of the year with callers being given the option of communicating in Welsh or English. NHS Direct Wales is part of the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

There are seven Community Health Councils in Wales which monitor the quality of the NHS services provided within a Health Board area and provide information about available services to the public.


NHS Wales provides public healthcare in Wales and employs some 90,000 staff, making it Wales’s biggest employer.[8] It employs a wide range of staff such as doctors, nurses, midwives and paramededics well as allied health professionals such as technicians, microbiologists, radiographers and pharmacists. Staff in its support services include administrative staff, estates and management staff, catering and domestic support staff.

Most staff working for NHS Wales, including non-clinical staff and GPs (most of whom are self-employed) are eligible to join the NHS Pension Scheme which, from 1 April 2008, is an average-salary Pension Defined benefit plans|defined benefit scheme.

See also


External links

  • [1] NHS Wales website
  • [2] Welsh Government website
  • [3] NHS Direct Wales

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